Tony Benn has gone to the great tearoom in the sky.
"As a minister, I experienced the power of industrialists and bankers to get their way by the crudest form of economic pressure, even blackmail, against a Labour Government. Compared to this, the pressure brought to bear in industrial disputes is minuscule.
"This power was revealed even more clearly in 1976 when the IMF secured cuts in our public expenditure. The lessons led me to the conclusion that the UK is only superficially governed by MPs and the voters who elect them. Parliamentary democracy is, in truth, little more than a means of securing a periodical change in the management team, which is then allowed to preside over a system that remains, in essence, intact.
"If the British people were ever to ask themselves what power they truly enjoyed under our political system they would be amazed to discover how little it is, and some new Chartist agitation might be born and might quickly gather momentum."
Tony Benn, Out of the Wilderness: Diaries 1963-67
I wrote the following in an article for Novara Media a few months back: